Category Archives: hedgehogs

Preparing Pets for Hurricanes

Too many times we see pets abandoned during weather-related disasters and with yet another Hurricane possibly headed our way (Irma), Petplan pet insurance wants to remind responsible pet parents to be aware of these simple tips to keep their pets safe and sound.

The Basics

Before the Storm: Keep calm and prepare. Pets can sense barometric pressure changes, so ease worry by speaking in a reassuring voice and distracting pets with games, toys and natural calming remedies.

In the Thick of It: Take shelter and keep pets inside—do not let them out in your yard off-leash! Stock up on puppy pads for an indoor bathroom solution. If you evacuate, make sure your dogs have ID tags and cats are in crates.

Aftermath: Proceed with caution. Pets can become injured or ill from breathing toxic generator fumes, drinking dirty water or eating spoiled food.

Hurricane Evacuation Kit Checklist for Pets (click here for info on each item)

  • Pet carrier
  • Medication for two weeks
  • Food and water for one week
  • Two slip leashes
  • Printed and electronic copies of medical history
  • Identification and contact information
  • Take a photo of your pet before you leave your home
  • Litter, piddle pads and trash bags
  • Shampoo, brush, towels
  • Plenty of patience

No one plans on a natural disaster disrupting his or her lives. What you can prepare for is how you’ll respond when the crisis occurs. Good luck, be safe, and may we all be pet-prepared should disaster strike.

Posted in cats, dogs, hedgehogs, people helping animals, pet care | 2 Comments

Hedgehog basics

Yuki the hedgehog

We introduced you to our hedgehog Yuki awhile back, and many of you have reached out with questions on if they make good pets, and if then need special care.

Hedgehogs do make great pets, but there are some things you need to know. They are nocturnal, and they do need patience as they get used to you and being handled. They can be grumpy sometimes, but that is just part of the charm. Here are some of the things they will need to be happy:

Heat and Light

Hedgehogs have special heating needs, they like things warm, and it’s important to keep a a hedgehog’s cage between 72 and 80 degrees F. It can be dangerous, and even fatal, for a hedgehog to get colder than 70 degrees. The drop in temperature can cause a hibernation attempt. Domestic hedgehogs can’t hibernate safely, so it’s very important to avoid these attempts.

The easiest way to keep your hedgehog happy is to use a space heater in the room. Be sure to keep a thermometer in the cage so you can be sure the temp is right.

Because they are nocturnal, hedgehogs do best with a consistent source of light for about 12-14 hours each day. It’s a good idea to have a light with a timer near the cage. Light is important to avoid triggering a hibernation attempt.

Housing

Solid-sided cages (like large plastic bins without lids) retain heat better and have smooth floors so feet and toes don’t get stuck, and are easy to keep clean. They are also relatively cheap compared to other options since you won’t have to make adjustments for safety.

Accessories

Your hedgehog will need a solid plastic wheel to run in. They love to run, so this is not just a toy, this is essential to their health and happiness. Make sure that your wheel is solid plastic as well to avoid toes getting stuck and injured.

They also enjoy having a hideaway (a plastic igloo is a great choice), and will spend time sleeping in it during the day time. This helps them feel safe. Take both of these items into account when picking a bin so there is still room to roam.

Hedgehogs like to climb, but unsupervised climbing should be prevented to avoid injuries from falls. This is another reason why large plastic bins make great houses, the sides don’t allow for climbing. Large, clear Sterilite bins (105 quart) are our choice, just leave the lid off. Tanks and aquariums should be avoided.

Since hedgehogs are generally solitary, it’s best not to house two together.

Diet

The ideal hedgehog food is actually made for cats! Commercial hedgehog foods should be avoided since they lack the nutrition needed.

High quality dry cat food is the best choice. Hedgehogs can be picky eaters, so you might have to try a few before finding one your hedgie loves. Yuki likes Purina Cat Chow Naturals, and we were lucky because it was the first food we tried and she loved it.

Your hedgehog will also need fresh mealworms (buy them at the pet store) as a supplement to dry cat food. Feed a few each day, 3-5 depending on the size of the mealworm. Do not feed freeze dried insects to avoid digestion problems, some very serious that can lead to death. Also avoid insects from your garden or other natural areas as they might contain pesticides.

Bedding

The two best choices for bedding are paper based bedding, or fabric liners made of fleece (easy to make yourself by cutting fleece to size). We like the paper based bedding best because it gives the hedgehog a chance to burrow and dig around. Bedding should be changed 1-2 times a week, and the wheel will need to be cleaned daily.

Wood shavings should NOT be used, because they can cause respiratory issues.

Handling

Your hedgehog will need a lot of handling to become more friendly. This is best done in the evening when they are starting to wake up. And of course, just like people, they each have their own personalities! You might get lucky like we did and have a hedgie that likes you right away, or you might get a grumpier hedgie that needs more time to warm up to you. It helps if you “scoop” them up under their tummies when lifting them. Continue to pick them up, even when they prickle and roll into a ball.

We have enjoyed visiting a hedgehog forum called Hedgehog Central for when we have questions, they are a great resource for all new owners.

Posted in hedgehogs, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Introducing Yuki, our albino hedgehog

There’s a new little face in our household, and we are excited to introduce her to you! We recently adopted an albino hedgehog. We named her Yuki because she looks like a little snowball, and yuki means snow in Japanese.

Yuki the hedgehog

We will be sharing more about how to care for hedgies soon, but for now we just wanted to pop in quickly to introduce her to you all!

Posted in hedgehogs | 2 Comments

Merry Christmas 2016

It’s hard to believe another year is coming to an end, but here we are again celebrating Christmas and soon the start of a new year! We hope that your holiday season has been a good one, celebrating with both people and pets. And we wish you and yours a great 2017!

Albino hedgehog

Posted in hedgehogs, holidays | Comments Off on Merry Christmas 2016